Not So Simple?

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Excerpt from Simple…

Walking towards Gran, I could feel the blood draining from my body, trying to find some place to hide.  It felt as if it had all gathered in my feet, making each step I took the hardest thing I had ever done.

Gran got up from her rocker and I watched it continue to move, as if she had left some part of herself sitting in it.  She walked inside the cabin and waited for me. She had never done more than cuff me across the back of the head, but I figured I had to be in for more than that this time.  I was trying to think of the worst she could do.

It was cool inside the cabin.  Gran was sitting at the big wooden table grandpa had made.  She might as well have been the town judge, sitting behind the high bench.  She didn’t move or look at me as I sat opposite, waiting for judgement.  I knew better than speak first.  I couldn’t have, even if I wanted to, my mouth had dried up.  Gran finally spoke, her voice hard, as if she had eaten gravel.  ‘You’ve done a bad thing, Leanne. Taken our trust and pissed it in the wind.  Jimmy says he should be the one to punish you, says you had no right taking Simple anywhere near the Spiers. Reckon I should turn you over to him, save my words for someone who can hear them.’

I said, ‘I can hear real good,’ with more grit in my voice than I intended.

Gran fixed me with one of those looks that made me wish I could turn to stone. ‘Seems to me, young lady,  if your ears still work, then your brain’s gone soft like Simple’s. Fancy interfering in business that aint yours. You know right enough, he needs telling more times than the sun wakes us and then some. You want him took off for takin’ town young’uns?’

‘Course not, Gran.’  My voice came out as a whisper. ‘Simple was hurt real bad.  I couldn’t just leave him . . .’

Amazon Review

Disturbing, but compelling and heartwarming

By Rivergirl

5.0 out of 5 stars

This is a story about some very tough and mean people somewhere in the backwoods and mountains of America. It is told from the perspective of a young girl whose mission in life is to protect her big, but simple-minded brother from harm. The story is compelling, frightening and sometimes brutal in the manner of the film Deliverance, but it is also a heartwarming story of loyalty, love and deep affection. It was not what I was expecting, but I’m glad I read it. It has an unforgettable quality about it and the characters are complex but convincing. It really is a great story and unputdownable.

 

 

Not So Simple?

Draft2Digital Link: https://books2read.com/u/3nYYQB     FREE this week!

Excerpt from Simple…

Walking towards Gran, I could feel the blood draining from my body, trying to find some place to hide.  It felt as if it had all gathered in my feet, making each step I took the hardest thing I had ever done.

Gran got up from her rocker and I watched it continue to move, as if she had left some part of herself sitting in it.  She walked inside the cabin and waited for me. She had never done more than cuff me across the back of the head, but I figured I had to be in for more than that this time.  I was trying to think of the worst she could do.

It was cool inside the cabin.  Gran was sitting at the big wooden table grandpa had made.  She might as well have been the town judge, sitting behind the high bench.  She didn’t move or look at me as I sat opposite, waiting for judgement.  I knew better than speak first.  I couldn’t have, even if I wanted to, my mouth had dried up.  Gran finally spoke, her voice hard, as if she had eaten gravel.  ‘You’ve done a bad thing, Leanne. Taken our trust and pissed it in the wind.  Jimmy says he should be the one to punish you, says you had no right taking Simple anywhere near the Spiers. Reckon I should turn you over to him, save my words for someone who can hear them.’

I said, ‘I can hear real good,’ with more grit in my voice than I intended.

Gran fixed me with one of those looks that made me wish I could turn to stone. ‘Seems to me, young lady,  if your ears still work, then your brain’s gone soft like Simple’s. Fancy interfering in business that aint yours. You know right enough, he needs telling more times than the sun wakes us and then some. You want him took off for takin’ town young’uns?’

‘Course not, Gran.’  My voice came out as a whisper. ‘Simple was hurt real bad.  I couldn’t just leave him . . .’

 

Amazon Review

 

Disturbing, but compelling and heartwarming

By Rivergirl

5.0 out of 5 stars

This is a story about some very tough and mean people somewhere in the backwoods and mountains of America. It is told from the perspective of a young girl whose mission in life is to protect her big, but simple-minded brother from harm. The story is compelling, frightening and sometimes brutal in the manner of the film Deliverance, but it is also a heartwarming story of loyalty, love and deep affection. It was not what I was expecting, but I’m glad I read it. It has an unforgettable quality about it and the characters are complex but convincing. It really is a great story and unputdownable.

 

#Throwback Thursday ~ Cleaved by Sue Coletta @SueColetta1 #SuspenseThriller

 

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Cleaved … such an old fashioned emotive word and one used to great effect in this thrilling crime story.

This crime thriller opens with a gripping prologue. A woman is trapped inside a steel drum, terrified for her life. You are instantly there with her, experiencing every gruesome and terrifying moment as she tries to escape.

Somewhere in the Lake Region of New England, a ruthless killer is on the prowl. He needs to kill Sage Quintano, the author wife of the Sheriff, Niko Quintano, but his reason is not clear.

Someone starts to follow Sage, tormenting her with a nursery rhyme and then her world starts to fall apart. I loved the way the chapters alternated sometimes, as the two women in the story, Sage and her husband’s female deputy, Frankie Campanelli take turns to build the tension and the story, and you couldn’t have two more different women than these.

I thought the plot and storyline were expertly handled, for despite all the confusing clues I couldn’t  tell the guilty from the innocent. The dialogue was handled well, with arguments strongly portrayed and believable. The tension builds gradually, almost painfully so. I read somewhere that the author actually experienced being inside a steel drum, for the sake of realism, I hope!

The interaction with the Quintano dogs, Colt and Ruger, was rather special too, the scene where Sage and the dogs comfort one another was really moving.

I would have preferred an English vocabulary, as some of the terms used were unfamiliar to me. And I’m not sure about the over-description of the maggots!

I will be reading Marred, the first book in this series, as I know I will enjoy that one too, and I can find out what happened to Sage’s sister…

Book Description

Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it. Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots their happy home, and splits the threads that binds their family unit.
Darkness swallows the Quintano’s whole–ensnared by a ruthless killer out for blood. Why he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won’t stop till she dies like the others.
Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes, and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.

Our Review for Emilia by Na’ama Yehuda #Psychological Fiction @NaamaYehuda

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It is the late 1800s. A young child is kidnapped by her tutor and secreted into seclusion, muted by terror. Will she find sanctuary, and her voice, before it is too late and she is silenced forever? Can anyone she risks to trust, truly protect her? What if safety is only an illusion and nightmares come alive?

As the child’s trail goes cold, Mark Monsey, police officer, remains haunted by it. In spite of little departmental support, he doggedly follows what clues he has. Crisscrossing the county from isolated lighthouses, estates, and groundskeeper’s cottages, to limestone caves, spooky cellars and dreary train stations, he becomes increasingly aware things are not what they seem and he is being deceived.

Can he find the truth, and will it matter when storm clouds and death spread faster than any of them can foresee?

 

Our Review

We first meet KayAnne Brisbane travelling on a train with Emilia, a delicate five-year-old child, a most mysterious beginning. How they came to be on this train is brought to us slowly by revealing flashbacks that explain KayAnne’s motives. She had been employed as a tutor for the child, but after six weeks, she was informed that her services were no longer required, as the child would be going to boarding school.

Unable to bear the thought of her fragile charge being subjected to this, she runs away with the child. But where were they going and what did she hope to find when they got there?

This book is written in an atmospheric style, reminding me very much of a hauntingly illustrated copy of Jane Eyre that I read years ago. Reading this story will break your heart, a compelling story of fear and pain, abuse and nightmare.

The horrifying suspense is there from the first page, turning like a corkscrew with your emotions. The harsh subject matter is somehow made worse by the powerful description and settings, but there is healing there too. You feel it slowly working its magic as you read on, all the way to the nail-biting conclusion…

 

Excerpt

She took a deep breath. She looked down at Emilia, who seemed fit to fall over with exhaustion. “We’ll be on the train soon,” KayAnne said, “and then you can rest some more, okay?” Emilia hung big eyes on her and said nothing, not even in a nod. She knew the child could use some reassurance.

She should tell Emilia where they were going, or at least tell her that all would be well … but she didn’t know if it will all be well, and felt unable to promise what might unravel. She could only put one foot in front of the other and hope beyond reason even as she dragged this poor child all this distance. What if what Emilia needed—what they both were desperate for—wasn’t there? Bereft of reassuring things to say, KayAnne just squeezed Emilia’s hand and prayed her own fear didn’t get communicated anyway…

 

About the Author

Na’ama Yehuda was born and raised in Israel, lived in Africa as a young child, and currently resides in New York City. A Speech Language Pathologist and Audiologist with over 25 years’ experience, she works with children of all ages, teaches internationally, consults, writes, trains professionals, and loves it all. Writing is in Na’ama’s soul and children are her passion, as she aims to spotlight connection, communication, and attachment in development. She also thoroughly enjoys a good story, a good laugh, and a goodly bit of playfulness. One of seven sisters, and aunt (and grand-aunt) to many nieces and nephews, Na’ama is blessed with an amazing family. Goats and beaches never fail to make her happy, and she adores life, words, and the grace of connection. Author of both fiction and professional titles, she is always writing at least two things simultaneously (Yes, a sequel to “Outlawed Hope” is in the works, as is a book for young adults, and more). Visit her at: naamayehuda.com

 

 

 

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Tastes Like Fear… @sarah_hilary

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You’ll never be out of Harm’s way

The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He’s the head of her new family.

He’s Harm.

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl’s disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she’s about to face.

 

This is the third book in Sarah Hilary’s crime thriller series, and possibly the best one yet. Featuring another seriously nasty case for DI Marnie Rome and her crew to solve.

The author seems to delight in exposing all the dark corners in this world.

Based in Battersea, a place I have lived in and know well, has increased the realism for me, with the sheer accuracy of the setting and the life force of the place.

Teenage girls go missing all the time, especially in London, and for a multitude of reasons. Not many people seem to care as much as Marnie Rome about their well being.

I love the attention to detail in this creepy thriller. The concise plotting is so tense you will find it hard to take a breath.  (The perfect role model for yours truly!)

At times the story was too real, dealing as it does with children’s fates, but Sarah Hilary handles it with a great deal of sensitivity and care.

I am looking forward to Sarah’s next book, Quieter Than Killing, with anticipation.

 

 

Rosie’s #BookReviewTeam #RBRT Murder Undone by Robin Storey @RobinStorey1 #PsychologicalFiction

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A husband murdered. Twenty years of guilt. A chance to undo her crime.

Wealthy socialite Eva Dennehy murdered her first husband Charlie because he was planning to leave her for his mistress. Even her marriage to kind-hearted Edgar can’t blot out her remorse or fill the gap Charlie has left in her life.

When Eva is offered the opportunity to travel back in time and undo her crime as penance, she accepts – what does she have to lose? Back in her old life with Charlie, her passion for him surpassed only by her torment at his infidelity, she is more determined than ever to prevent him from leaving her.

But Eva discovers a sinister side to Charlie she never knew before, and her plan plunges her into a world of crime and depravity. She soon realizes she has even more to lose this time around.

If you love complex, flawed characters, simmering tension and suspense with a twist of noir, you’ll love Robin Storey’s novel of jealousy and betrayal.

 

Our Review

Wealthy couple Eva and Charlie Dennehy had it all and on the surface, they seemed very happy. But deep down, Eva was tortured by Charles’ addiction to other women.

Rather than suffer the agony of him leaving her, she kills him, managing to make it look like a heart attack. She moves on, remarries, but cannot forget her love for Charlie.

Given the chance to go back and change the past, she finds her life worse than before. History had repeated itself and then some.

An unusual story, mixing an element of time travel into a murder romance, altogether fascinating in its complexity. The mix is well balanced, making it an interesting read about love, guilt and redemption.

I loved the main character, Eva Dennehy, she was so real and someone you could identify with.  Someone who is totally believable, even with her flaws.

I didn’t enjoy the depravity and squalor she finds herself involved with, but that was handled with a certain amount of sensitivity.

All in all, this story is deliciously dark and psychologically riveting, just the way I like them!

 

Robin Storey’s Biography

After many years as a freelance writer, I’m now hooked on fiction writing and love being an indie author. I live on the picturesque Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia, where we complain if the temperature drops to below 14 degrees Centigrade.

I’ve written six books so far – comedy crime How Not To Commit Murder, romantic comedy Perfect Sex, an e-book of four short stories Comedy Shorts, noir romance An Affair With Danger, memoir Making The Breast Of It and my latest publication (May 2017) suspense noir A Time For Penance.

Although I’ve written in a number of genres, crime is the common element in many of them. I derive the most enjoyment from writing dark, gritty novels against a background of crime and criminals, as in An Affair With Danger and A Time For Penance, and future books will be in the crime/suspense/noir genres.

I’d love you to come and visit my website, Storey-Lines, http://storey-lines.com, and check out my blog. If you subscribe to my readers’ group to receive my newsletter on books, reading and all things bookish, you’ll receive a FREE e-book of my novel How Not To Commit Murder.

I’d also love to connect with you on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/RobinStoreywriter

I’m a certified book nerd (too many books, not enough time!) and am a useful team member on quiz nights for the literary questions – but not much else. I enjoy hiking and chilling out at the beach, which is five minutes’ drive from my home. My partner and I completed the Camino Frances pilgrimage across northern Spain in October 2016. A life-changing experience I would highly recommend.

I don’t have any unusual hobbies or strange pets.

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday #BookReview The Curse of Arundel Hall @newwrites

 

One ghost, one murder, one hundred years apart. But are they connected?

Ella has discovered a secret room in The Yellow Cottage, but with it comes a ghost. Who was she? And how did she die? Ella needs to find the answers before either of them can find peace. But suddenly things take a nasty turn for the worse.
Ella Bridges has been living on Linhay Island for several months but still hasn’t discovered the identity of her ghostly guest. Deciding to research the history of her cottage for clues she finds it is connected to Arundel Hall, the large Manor House on the bluff, and when an invitation to dinner arrives realises it is the perfect opportunity to discover more.
However the evening takes a shocking turn when one of their party is murdered. Is The Curse of Arundel Hall once again rearing its ugly head, or is there a simpler explanation?
Ella suddenly finds herself involved in two mysteries at once, and again joins forces with Scotland Yard’s Police Commissioner to try and catch a killer. But will they succeed?

I am always on the lookout for something different and unusual to read, and The Curse of Arundel Hall was not disappointing. A well-written murder mystery set in the 1930s, transporting you back to another time with the old-fashioned language and way of life.

The main character, Isobella Bridges, or Ella, reminds me of the Agatha Christie heroines, although this particular lady is not an old spinster. Young and adventurous, life has not been kind and moving to the fairy tale cottage on Linhay Island was supposed to be a retreat from the world.

After a slow, scene-setting start, Ella discovers that a ghost of a woman haunts the cottage. Undaunted, it turns out she has a flair for such things and sets out to solve the mystery. She finds the skeletal remains of the woman hidden behind a secret panel. A murder soon follows, linking Ella’s cottage to nearby Arundel Hall, the subject of an ancient curse.

She discovers that Arundel Hall has been plagued with bad luck ever since the eleventh Duke of Norfolk built it for his wife Marion who sadly died in childbirth. The next wife went insane, and the third wife nearly drove him to murder, but she vanished, never to be seen again. Shortly after that, the Duke sold the Hall, cursing it as he left.

I really liked Ella, cheerfully determined to get on with her life and solve every problem that life throws at her, something that comes in handy in this adventure, as she figures out how to open various secret passages and hidden rooms.

This story is filled to the brim with exquisite detail and old-fashioned scenarios. The dialogue between the characters is amazing, the vocabulary perfect for the period. I loved the paranormal twist to the story, just enough to give the story an extra depth – although personally, I would have liked more.

I would defy anyone to try to guess who the murderer is, or why it happened. Just when you think you have figured it out, you are led to another possibility.

The “Spartacus” moment towards the end of the book (I won’t add any spoilers) was hilarious and the classic cliff-hanger had me yearning for the next book, but I will read the first book in this series while I am waiting.

Definitely, worth all of five stars…

About the Author

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J. New is the British author of paranormal cosy mysteries, murder mysteries and magical YA with a hint of romance. A voracious reader and writer all her life, she took her first foray into Indie publishing in 2013, and has never looked back.
She has an eclectic reading taste, ranging from the Magic of Terry Pratchett, JK Rowling, Tolkien and Neil Gaiman, to Dean Koontz, Eion Colfer, Anne Rice and Agatha Christie. A lover of murder mysteries set in past times, where steam trains, afternoon tea and house staff abound. She is convinced she was born in the wrong era as she has a particular aversion to cooking and housework.
She also has an impossible bucket list, which includes travelling on the Orient Express with Hercule Poirot, shopping in Diagon Alley with Sirius Black, lazing around the Shire with Gandalf and Bilbo, exploring Pico Mundo with Odd Thomas and having Tea at the Ritz with Miss Marple.
Funds from the sale of her books go towards her dog rescue effort.

Our Review of House Without Windows by Stevie Turner #RomanticSuspense @StevieTurner6

 

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Dr Beth Nichols thinks she has been held captive by Edwin Evans for about 8 or 9 years now. Amidst her grief she often looks back and thinks about her fiancé Liam. She lies awake at night staring at the one light bulb that is never switched off, and prays that Liam is still out there somewhere searching for her.

 

 

 

Our Review

This is an incredibly sad yet powerful, well written story.

One that will shred your nerves and try repeatedly to break your heart.

Most of us couldn’t begin to imagine what happens to Beth, or how she  manages to cope with it all and remain sane.

I don’t think I would have, for simply reading this story has left scars on my emotions. You keep telling yourself it is fiction and didn’t really happen, but we know only too well that it does. This story is probably far too close to the truth than is comfortable. The characters and their suffering are devastatingly real, made all the more so because we know situations like this have happened to people just like Beth and her daughter.

This story reminds us that this world can be cruel and disturbing, but that we can somehow survive and rise above the despair, if we can keep love in our hearts…


 

Biography

Stevie Turner is a British author of suspense, women’s fiction family dramas, and darkly humorous novels. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017. Some of Stevie’s books have been translated into German, Spanish, and Italian.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk
You can find her blog at the following link: http://www.steviet3.wordpress.com
You can sign up to her newsletter here: https://www.facebook.com/StevieTurnerAuthor/app/100265896690345/

 

Our Review of Prelude by Widdershins

 

Shamans come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, from all the continents of the Earth. We’ve been around since the human race realized there was more to existence than just the physical, and we’ll be around long after the last star has died, when the Wheel turns to renew All.

Becoming a Shaman is not for the faint-of-heart or the timid-of Spirit. It is not an easy Path, nor should it be. The responsibilities are great and require harsh testing before one is judged capable of shouldering them.

There are many Pathways to becoming a Shaman, and I came to understand mine through my Earth-based, Goddess Spirituality, She who is the First Mother of Us All, in all Her forms.

‘Prelude’  is the story of my very first steps along that Path. It is part memoir, part Shamanic adventure, and part guidebook, with a dash of dire warning on the side.

From the moment I came across a giant statue of Bast, I knew my life would never be the same. There were times I froze, bled, burned, raged, and cried.  My life, my past, the shadows, and the shining moments, all the things I believed defined me, were challenged, until nothing but a truth, my Truth, remained.

Join me as I confront my monsters, discover my true Name, and come to understand that the Physical world I grew up with was just a tiny corner of a much vaster Cosmos.

Our Review

I have always been one to muddle through life, never quite knowing what or why anything happens.

I always knew there should be more to this life than just drifting from moment to moment. I didn’t understand what it could be, or where to look for the answers, Or what to do with whatever I found was a complete and utter mystery to me.

From the first page of Prelude, this part memoir, part shamanic adventure written by Widdershins, I knew I had found something.

Could it be the path to my own enlightenment?

In the beginning, I doubted it, for I had been searching most of my life for some meaning, some reason for all those years of questions. But something called out to me and made me read on. Gradually, I discovered a guide to show me the way to understand what I had always sensed, but never found on my own.

This beautifully written and emotional book showed me how to reach my own truth, and will be a valuable reference for the rest of my life…

watermark xjj

 

 

 

 

Our Review for Voyage of the Lanternfish by C S Boyack #Action&Adventure @coldhandboyack

 

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An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.
He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.
James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.
Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Our Review

The Voyage of the Lanternfish is altogether a far more complicated and serious work than the author’s previous stories. Kidnapping and talk of starting a war had me thinking I had picked up the wrong book.

The solid sense of humour, wonderful storyline and intriguing characters kept me turning the pages and I almost read it all in one sitting.

This story has everything.

Adventure, magic, romance and an incredible cast of some of the strangest creatures I have ever read about. I couldn’t decide which character I like the most, as they all bring something special to the story.

I have read most of C S Boyack’s books and enjoyed them all, but I will remember The Voyage of the Lanternfish for some time.

If you like magical fantasy with a strong sense of realism, this brilliant book is for you…